DAY 1 - Start Madrid
Welcome to Spain! Join up with your new crew tonight over your first Spanish dinner in the metro magic of Madrid. Tomorrow will be a whole world of discovery, so you'll be thankful for your hotel sleep.
DAY 2 - Madrid to Bilbao via Burgos
The first leg of our Iberian roadtrip kicks off this morning as we travel north in search of Burgos and Bilbao.
We couldn't race to our night's stop without letting you in on the pretty medieval town of Burgos. We'll marvel at the French Gothic cathedral with its intricate spires before rolling on to Bilbao.
Bilbao might get bragging rights to being an up-and-coming cultural hub of Spain, but that hasn't diminished its uber laid back spirit. Home of one of the world’s most famous museums, the Museo Guggenheim, you're free to use your afternoon to play art critique and absorb Bilbao's pretty surrounds and architecture. Tonight we'll join up for an included dinner, feasting on regional delicacies at one of Bilbao's local restaurants.
DAY 3 - Bilbao to Pamplona via San Sebastian
Adiós Bilbao! Thanks for a delicious evening in your super cozy, culture buzzing nest. Next stop, ocean hangs.
What a way to start your day - dipping in the Bay of Biscay. San Sebastian is a postcard town where cobbled lanes slope towards pristine beaches. Take a dip, do some shopping, or sit in a bar eating endless plates of pinxtos (the basque word for tapas).
Our next stop is the colourful Pamplona. Opt to venture through the well-preserved old town and its incredible gothic cathedral on our walking tour, maybe ending the historical fix with a spot of fresh trout and red peppers - a regional specialty.
DAY 4 - Pamplona to Barcelona via Zaragoza
This morning we spread our wings and take metaphorical flight once again, this time in the direction of Zaragoza with an end goal of none other than bustling Barcelona.
A colourful cathedral & traditional Spanish churros will set our hearts aflutter in Zaragoza, as we roam the casco (old town) soaking up historic architecture and good vibes aplenty. Even the pit stops are amazing on Contiki.
With 2-nights in Barcelona, you'll be pronouncing Barcelona's C with a "tthh" like a true local by the time we make tracks. We'll kick things off with a walk through the Gothic Quarter & La Rambla district - two of the city's must-do's for an instant look at this pretty spot, and a sure way to feel like a local in no time.
DAY 5 - Barcelona
Today is up to you to explore your way. You could take a wander through the colourful buildings & gardens of Gaudi's iconic Parc Güell, or those wanting to explore the city can sign up for an optional bike tour. At lunchtime you'll have the option to join a cooking class at Espai Mescladis, one of our MAKE TRAVEL MATTER™ experiences here in Barcelona. Not just a cute cafe, this is the flagship project of a social enterprise using food and drink as a way to foster social inclusion and hospitality training.
DAY 6 - Barcelona to Valencia
This morning you’ll have the chance to join a guided bike tour of the city, before getting ready for a change of scene - the port city of Valencia is calling, where beach meets culture in the happiest way possible.
It’s hard not to be enchanted by Valencia. With one night here in the land that invented paella it would be crazy not to sign up for an optional paella-making class tonight with the crew. Who's in?
DAY 7 - Valencia to Granada
It's been short but sweet, Valencia, and we won't forget you, but this morning we're seeking the very different vibes of Granada. How are all these places in just one country?
Granada is brimming with romance and offering an eclectic mix of Arab and Spanish feels only to be found in Andalusia. This is one place you may never want to leave! We'll join up tonight for an included dinner with the crew.
DAY 8 - Granada
We start the morning with free time to explore. You can fill yours by opting for a guided tour of the Muslim quarter of Albaicin & the Capilla Real, and while you're at it, fill up on some of Granada's incredible food, like its famous Arab pastries. This afternoon we head to Spain's number 1 visited attraction, the Alhambra Palace. We'll discover the breathtaking beauty and history of this Moorish Palace, with its intricate patterns and detailed architecture that will leave you spellbound, and wondering why you haven't been here sooner. To top it off, Alhambra offers the best views of the city. Feel the Spanish rhythm and style by opting for a traditional flamenco and tapas night with your Contiki family. Que beuno!
DAY 9 - Granada to Madrid via Toledo
Bouncing out of bed should be no problem this morning, given the scenic adventures we have planned today on route to Madrid.
Mosques, churches and medieval buildings sit atop the hill town of Toledo. We'll uncover the city's gothic cathedral, the famous Renaissance sculptor, painter and architect El Greco’s house and the site of sieges, revolutions and treason. Just another pit-stop in our life in glorious Spain.
Here we are, back where the party started 10 life-changing days ago. You're free to spend the evening your way tonight and Madrid's nightlife is pumping, so grab some tapas, sangria and your dancing shoes for a night out on the town.
DAY 10 - Madrid to Cordoba
Leaving some of our group to finish their adventures here in Madrid, the rest of us will drive onwards to Córdoba.
Flowers adorn storybook balconies & charming little lanes will take your breath away in this UNESCO World Heritage-listed city, overflowing with history. We'll start with a walking tour to fall head over heels with Córdoba, and a trip to the Mezquita (Mosque of the Caliphs) will be the perfect way to spend our day. This evening we'll stay in for an included dinner together at our Special Stay for the night, a 15th Century monastery with vaulted ceilings, outdoor pool and internal courtyard.
DAY 11 - Córdoba to Seville
Ready to explore more of Andalucía? This morning we'll leave historical Córdoba with our sights set on sun-soaked Seville.
13th century architecture and one of the world's biggest cathedrals wait for us in the passionate arms of Southern Spain's capital, Seville. We'll be seduced with a guided stroll of the city, admiring the city's river, Mudéjar palaces & aristocratic mansions, before settling down to an included dining experience together tonight.
DAY 12 - Seville
Another day free to explore Seville? Don't mind if we do. Take a wander through picturesque Barrio Santa Cruz, visit the Alcazar (a Game of Thrones location for those in the know) and explore winding medieval lanes to your heart's delight. Just be sure to save some energy for our optional EatWith dining experience tonight, an authentic feast on Seville's rooftops.
DAY 13 - Seville to Lisbon
We couldn't think of a more perfect way to say goodbye to Spain, and say goodbye we must, because our agenda today sees us moving westwards on the Iberian penninsula to Portugal. Crossing the border, spirits are high as we cruise along the Algarve, where petiscos and pastéis de nata await.
Welcome to yet another example of incredible Europe – how can countries sit so geographically close yet be so distinctly different? Here in Lisbon, vintage looking trams roll down cobbled streets and tiny intricate tiles make everything beautifully picturesque. With plenty of time for exploring tomorrow, you're free to take to the streets and check out some of the sidestreet cafes or restaurants for dinner, and real foodies won't want to miss the optional Tastes of Lisbon experience to discover the best authentic food spots around the city.
DAY 14 - Lisbon
Starting to feel fully immersed in all things Portugal, this morning we'll get guided around the city and check out all the hotspots including Portugal's Christo Rei (Christ the Redeemer), Rossio Square, the Belem District, home to the famous tower of the same name, and feel some Moorish vibes at a monastery where Vasco de Gama's tomb is held. With free time this afternoon, those looking for local vibes will fall head over heels for bohemian bars, riverside clubs and plenty of cute boutiques. Tonight, you'll be able to join an optional dinner experience at Al Faro restaurant.
DAY 15 - Lisbon to Porto via Cascais and Sintra
After breakfast this morning we'll head up the coast to Porto, but not before stopping en route at Cascais and Sintra.
We couldn't leave Lisbon without a visit to UNESCO World Heritage-listed Sintra. This fairytale town features turreted pastel-coloured palaces and charming castle ruins, with the star of the show being the insta-famous Pena Palace.
Our first stop this morning is in the coastal town of Cascais, known for its stunning beaches and tasty seafood. Stroll along the marina or opt in for a MAKE TRAVEL MATTER™ experience hosted by local residents: a street art tour showcasing the culture of a neighbourhood shaking off old perceptions by creating an urban art gallery unlike anywhere in the world.
Cruising into the terracotta washed city of Porto, we'll enjoy an included dinner together tonight with plenty of time to explore tomorrow.
DAY 16 - Porto
Alive with galleries & coffee shops, the city of Porto is basically a dream. We’ll find heritage in the old wooden tram that rattles along the streets & in the UNESCO stamped alleys of Ribeira. You'll have the chance to explore Porto in your free time today, seeing all the main sites like the lavish São Fransisco Church and 19th century Palácio de Bolsa and wandering the picturesque coastline, before an optional but must to experience this evening: a walking tour of Porto complete with port tasting.
DAY 17 - Porto to Salamanca
See ya Portugal, you've shown us all your best places and we're feeling very thankful!
Rolling back over the border to Spain, we'll settle for the night in Salamanca. We're just 2 hours from Madrid but somehow Salamanca feels like a whole other world, with a 13th century University, mysteriously futuristic gargoyles, a painted indoor sky fresco, and a Cathedral dotted with carved stone shells. After orienting ourselves to the city we'll have some free time to find some food (think cheeses, cured meats, wine & sweet almond cookies) and explore more this evening.
DAY 18 - Salamanca to Madrid via Ávila
Satisfied with our time in Salamanca, we'll make our way back to Madrid with a stop in Ávila.
Ávila is best known for its perfectly preserved 11th century medieval walls, protecting the medieval UNESCO World Heritage-listed city inside. We'll stop to admire them and find ourselves some lunch before jumping back in the coach, bound for Madrid.
Back where it all began, again! Here in Madrid you'll be able to make the most of our final night together with an optional dinner of traditional food at an iconic Spanish restaurant near the Plaza Mayor.
DAY 19 - Depart Madrid
Tears and tissues and pinky swears for a reunion trip will mark the blur of sadness that is our morning departure. These are the memories that will stay with you a life time; make sure your next Contiki adventure is just around the corner.